Paper and Boards

Card and paper are commonly used for packaging as they are inexpensive, can be formed easily and have a wide range of properties.

When card is cut and shaped in a 2 dimensional form (as a net) it has benefits such as higher volume storage and transportation. It can also be printed on easily in mass volumes.

To reduce cost card used for packaging is produced from low grade unbleached pulp, one side is then coated with a higher grade of paper for better results for printing.

Paper thickness is measured in grams per square metre (gsm). This is the weight of one square metre of the paper.

The weight of card ranges from 120gsm to 220gsm.

Corrugated card would provide a cheaper alternative – this is used mainly for products such as white goods and only requires basic printing. Corrugated card is also good as it protects goods during transportation.

Paper and card are absorbent materials and susceptible to water and grease. A polythene coating can be applied to the surface to give it a resistant finish – but this means it cannot be recycled.

Egg cartons and electrical product packaging use pulp formed in a one or two part mould. Smart and modern materials are also being developed. Many different materials can be used for model-making.

Both adhesives and fastenings are used to attach materials together. They can be permanent or temporary.

Paper strength

The tensile strength is the maximum stress to break a strip of paper sheet. It is one of the most important basic physical properties of paper and paperboard.

Types of paper

Type Use and description
Layout paper
  • low cost
  • lightweight, thin white paper
  • used for initial ideas
Tracing paper
  • high cost
  • thin translucent paper
  • used to make copies of drawings
Cartridge paper
  • medium cost
  • good quality white paper
  • available in different weights
  • can be used to make simple models
Coloured paper
  • low to medium cost
  • available in different thicknesses
  • used for mounting finished work
  • used to apply coloured surfaces to models
Grid paper
  • low cost
  • printed square and isometric grids
  • good guide for quick sketches and model-making

Card is measured in microns: one micron is one thousandth of one millimetre – and card is manufactured from recycled and reusable paper.

Type Use and description
  • range of thicknesses (from 300 microns to 650 microns)
  • range of colours
  • used for models
Corrugated card
  • strong and lightweight
  • used for packaging protection and point of sale stands
  • available in different thicknesses
Mounting board
  • good quality thick card
  • coloured surface
  • used for final models
  • used for mounting work